The TTFit team are huge sports fans, and we believe there are many things we can learn from other sports and as part of our journalism we will refer and reference to other sports to give a rounded view.
Rory McIlroy has always been a good putter but has openly admitted that it’s the only part of his game that doesn’t come naturally to him. Don’t get me wrong, he still works on every part of his game, but putting has been a weakness at times and has cost him many victories.
Rory, who is currently at the summit of the Men’s World rankings decided he needed to seek advice from one of the best putters from the 90s, Brad Faxon. They met over a drink and decided to have their first session the following morning. On leaving, Faxon gave Rory some instructions, ‘Ok, great, I’ll see you in the morning and I want you to bring your 3 wood, sand iron and putter’. Rory looked confused when he replied, ‘I just need some putting tips Brad, I’m happy with my driving and short game!’. Faxon paused a little before announcing, ‘Did I mention your driving or short game?!’
The next morning was blowing a gale and Rory said ‘I don’t usually practice my putting in the wind so much!’…’Why the hell not?’, Faxon replied, ‘Do you never play in the wind?!!’ Rory felt a bit foolish but he definitely wasn’t prepared for the next exercise. Faxon gave Rory a putting challenge, he had to attempt to hole 3 x 8 foot putts with the putter, the 3 wood, and finally the sand iron. Rory looked at Faxon and gave him a grin, he knew what the concept was now. Rory holed 1 putt with the putter, 2 with the 3 wood, and all 3 with the sand iron!! ‘Rory, you have become too technical with your putting, you need to FEEL the ball into the hole and practice this way.’ McIlroy won the next weeks Tournament and also had his BEST EVER putting stats on the tour!!’
Here are 5 TTFit things you can learn from this:
Rory McIlroy is always striving to be better, is willing and open minded to try new things even though he is the best in the world. He is THE BEST ON THE PLANET but still wants to improve, he seeks advice, listens and takes the appropriate action.
Rory got stuck in a practice routine that he enjoyed, you need to practice things that make you uncomfortable, not things that make you feel great! The Holywood superstar now regularly practices in the wind and rain when he can.
Many of the Table Tennis coaches we speak to talk about players who have feeling and the different sound the ball makes with these athletes, practice this, listen to the sound, practice your touch and think of different fun ways to do this!
We are not saying that technique is not important, of course it is, but sometimes players get bogged down on trying to find technical perfection when searching for good feeling could be the answer.
Finally, if and when you are going through a period of lack of confidence in your game or a particular stroke, take a step back, try a new approach, seek advice from someone new and maybe you will find someone like Rory did who made him look at putting differently.